KTN-iX proves its worth for Sellafield

Posted on: 13/05/2020

Five organisations have received funding from the Sellafield Game Changers programme after they were selected following a challenge process run by KTN.

KTN has worked closely with the Sellafield Game Changers team to source potential solution providers for a range of nuclear decommissioning challenges using the KTN innovation exchange (KTN-iX), an online platform that promotes innovation transfer.

KTN-iX matches real industry challenges from large companies to organisations, often from other sectors, who have innovative technology and can facilitate faster development of novel solutions to those challenges.

Sellafield’s challenges centred around Post Operational Clean Out (POCO) tasks such as detecting residual liquors, removing residues and reducing the amount of reagent used to clean the inside of pipes and vessels and also the in-situ assessment of granular materials.

Following the process, 14 organisations were invited to ‘pitch’ to a team of technical experts from Sellafield and the Game Changers team. Many of these had no experience of the nuclear sector; their technologies and proposed solutions had been used successfully in other sectors and the ability to transfer the knowledge to the nuclear arena was recognised. To date, five have been awarded Game Changers feasibility funding.

The challenges were agreed with Sellafield and the Game Changers team and then promoted to KTN’s network of contacts in the nuclear sector, but also in areas outside of nuclear such as oil and gas, water, chemical, defence and security, food, artificial intelligence (AI), construction and healthcare. The transfer of skills and knowledge from other sectors is a key driver for the platform and allows the challenge holder to explore potential solutions from diverse sectors that they might not otherwise have considered or been able to access easily.

Andy Cooney, Technical Manager at Sellafield said:

“Posting our challenges on KTN-iX has allowed us to have a cross-sectoral approach and added an element of reach that has proved invaluable. The responses have allowed us to explore applying solutions from other sectors like medical X-Ray technology to some really tricky problems.”

Frank Allison, Game Changers said:

“We’ve been delighted to be able to work in partnership with KTN-iX to broaden the reach of the Sellafield Game Changers programme and find solutions which really have great potential.”

Challenges on the KTN-iX platform are in one of three sectors – Offshore Wind (OWiX), Energy Systems (EnSiX) and Nuclear (NuiX). The nuclear challenges are aligned to the Nuclear Sector Deal covering areas such as nuclear new build, existing generation and decommissioning. Innovators get the opportunity to work with large corporates on a commercial basis via a simple submission of their ideas. The challenge owner selects the ideas that are of best fit for solving their challenge and then looks to collaborate on a commercial basis.

For more details about KTN-iX and the challenges, visit the KTN-iX pages here.

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